Around one fifth of Scotland's population – or one million people – define themselves as disabled. Yet disabled people often experience higher levels of inequality compared to their non-disabled peers. Likewise, they are much more likely to be living in poverty than non-disabled people, something which has only got worse in the current cost of living crisis: disabled people are now at significantly increased risk of financial hardship, fuel poverty, food insecurity, and destitution, and the mental health and wellbeing issues this brings.
Unfortunately, and partially as a result of the above, opportunities for disabled people (including children) are often limited. At the Royal Caledonian Charities Trust, we are keen to support charities that help people thrive - regardless of their background or ability.
Cerebral Palsy Scotland
Cerebral Palsy Scotland – formerly known as Bobath – supports people living with cerebral palsy in Scotland. Its mission is to help people with cerebral palsy build skills, knowledge, confidence and relationships. The charity advocates for the CP community to have life-long access to knowledgeable, compassionate services and support; provides specialist intensive therapy; organises group activities for a range of ages and stages, and work to share CP-specific information both online and face-to-face. The Royal Caledonian Charities Trust has supported CP Scotland on several occasions over the past decade.
At RDA Glasgow Group, disabled children can work towards their individual goals and build a strong foundation for managing the challeges of their life-longconditions. Riders are supported to develop their riding technique to improv core strength and agility.
The charity uses around 20 specially trained horses for their work. Among them is Jake, a 15hh piebald bought with the support of one of the Royal Caledonian Charities Trust’s grants. Good-natured Jake has quickly become a favourite at the Group’s Sandyflat Stables. His unfailing patience and willingness make him a perfect fit for young, anxious riders who have a range of disabilities, allowing them to gain confidence and improve their physical wellbeing during their sessions with him. In fact, this ‘Supercob’ has proven so popular that the team joke they wish they could clone him!
The Yard creates beautiful havens for disabled children, but even more than that, opportunities for fun, friendship and community building. Since 1986, they have offered creative and inclusive play experiences in a well-supported environment, alongside wraparound support for the whole family. The flagship centre in Edinburgh was refurbished by BBC's DIY SOS The Big Build in 2012, followed by the opening of The Yard Dundee in 2015 and The Yard Fife in 2016. There are plans to expand into the West of Scotland.
The charity offers a varied programme of drop-in, respite and transition youth clubs, early years, specialist sessions with schools, family play sessions, and inclusive play and disability training. At the heart of everything they do is child-led free play, working with their young clients to pursue their passions and interests, do what they love and adapt to their world. At the same time, The Yard's specialist team aim to challenge and motivate, supporting children and young people to try new activities, building life skills and confidence in the process, not to mention that all-important sense of achievement.